White Hall resident Angela Lynn is tossing her hat into the 25th District ring, most of which lies in Augusta County, so it’s no surprise that gerrymandering was the first issue she talked about during her announcement in front of the Albemarle County Office Building March 7.
Democrat Lynn, who challenged incumbent Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, in 2015, says she noticed before her first run that when she went to vote, “There was no one on the ballot except for the incumbent.” She immediately went to work for One Virginia 2021, the group that got shut down on redistricting reform last month in the General Assembly.
Calling gerrymandering a “corrosive issue,” Lynn points out that Landes serves on the privileges and elections committee, which killed this session’s redistricting reform bills.
Landes carried his own resolution that would have forbidden political consideration in drawing district lines. His bill also died in subcommittee along with a handful of others. Senate bills that crossed over to the House of Delegates got a vote from the committee—with Landes voting no—but still met their demise.
Lynn lost to Landes’ overwhelming 66 percent in 2015, and she acknowledges taking the 25th would be tough. While Lynn won in the western sliver of Albemarle that’s part of the district, Landes took 78 percent of the vote in Augusta, and 74 percent in Rockingham County, which is also part of the district.
“The only way for me to be an incumbent in a gerrymandered district is I need new voters,” she says. “I need them to come out. I need the energy we’re seeing now to come out. It’s a call to action.”
“In politics, you don’t ever take anything for granted,” says Landes, who chairs the education committee and is vice chair of appropriations. He says he’ll seek a 12th term to finish work on high school SOL requirements and Medicaid reform.
Military wife Lynn taught public school in Virginia and is the mother of five public school graduates. She says she wants to fully fund education, protect health care and halt the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
“I need people in September and October who are really fed up,” she says, hoping for an army of volunteers to knock on doors. “This is a really different time.”
Updated March 10.